(Image courtesy of The CW)
If you tuned in last night to catch a new episode of CW’s The Flash you would have been thoroughly disappointed because the show won’t return from it’s hiatus until January 24th of next year. The good news is that if you haven’t been following along this gives you some time to catch up on the 9 episodes of season 3 that have aired so far. If you are caught up and need a refresher, these are some of the major points that have happened this season as well as some ideas about what we might see going forward.
In the season 2 finale Barry Allen decided to go back in time to stop Reverse Flash from killing his mother, resulting in…Flashpoint. For those unfamiliar with the story, Flashpoint is a 2011 DC Comics story by Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert that takes place in an alternate timeline. In it, Barry Allen wakes up in an alternate timeline thinking Reverse Flash has altered the timeline. In order to stop the impending war between Aquaman and Wonder Woman, Barry convinces Batman (Thomas Wayne) to help him recreate the accident that granted him access to The Speedforce and allowed him to become The Flash. Of course the storyline is far more complex than this and if you want to fully understand it you can read the comic books or watch the animated film Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox.
The season 3 premiere follows through on that storyline with an episode loosely based on Flashpoint with some change made. The main ideas stay the same in terms of Barry saving his mother and creating an alternate timeline but certain things would be too difficult to adapt for television. The main takeaways are:
-Both of Barry’s parents are alive but this means that he is estranged from the West family because he never went to live with them after his mother was killed and his father was sent to prison for her murder.
-“Team Flash” doesn’t exist. Instead of helping Barry take down meta-humans, Caitlin and Cisco are a pediatric ophthalmologist and self-centred billionaire respectively
-The most interesting change during Flashpoint is that Wally West is The Flash and he has been the one keeping Central City safe.
While many people were disappointed that Flashpoint itself only lasted one episode it is understandable why. Not only does The Flash operate on a TV budget, making the possibility of a full scale war unlikely, but it also operates outside of the DC Cinematic Universe (DCEU) meaning the show most likely not permitted by Warner Bros. to use characters like Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg etc. The fact that they were allowed to use Superman this season on Supergirl is surprising enough. Despite the fact that Flashpoint itself was over after the premiere, the ramifications were felt throughout these first 9 episodes of The Flash and the other 3 DC shows. The ramifications include:
-One of the biggest changes was that Cisco’s brother Dante is dead when Barry returns from Flashpoint. This revelation causes substantial friction between Barry and Cisco but they are eventually able to repair their friendship
-At the end of episode 2 it is revealed that Dr. Caitlin Snow now possesses the powers that transform her into the comic book villain Killer Frost. The majority of Caitlin’s arc so far this season has centred around her coming to terms with her powers, culminating in episode 7, “Killer Frost”
-Team Flash. Fans of Wally West have been waiting for him to gain access to the Speed Force ever since he was introduced in the winter finale last year. While it took a while for his powers to appear he has since received a suit of his very own, and become Kid Flash. This comes after Jesse Wells was revealed as the speedster Jesse Quick earlier in the season.
Alchemy, voiced spectacularly by Tobin Bell from the Saw franchise, was revealed as a villain and made his presence felt immediately. The greatest power that Alchemy has is his ability to restore the powers of any meta-human that existed in Flashpoint and this not only creates multiple problems for The Flash, but is also the way that Wally gets his powers.
In the mid-season finale it is revealed that Julian Albert,forensic scientist and Barry’s arch-rival at the CCPD, is in fact Alchemy but only because he has been possessed by Savitar.
Savitar, the God of speed, is the real villain for this season and he is by far the fastest speedster we have ever seen on the show. He’s so fast that non-speedsters can’t even see him when he is standing still. While not much is known about Savitar at this point, we do know that he is extremely powerful and ruthless. In the mid-season finale Barry is able to throw the stone that controls him into the Speed Force, but ends up sending himself 5 months into the future where he sees Savitar murder Iris. It is also revealed that he is able to possess Julian in order to force him to become Alchemy.
Other notable villains include The Rival, Magenta, Mirror Master, Top, Killer Frost, and Shade.
I’ve had a great time watching this first chunk of episodes and If I had to pick a favourite moment it would be the speech that Jay Garrick gives Barry in episode 2. After Barry attempts to go back in time to stop himself from saving his mother (time travel is confusing isn’t it?) Jay Garrick pulls him out of the Speed Force and lectures him on the dangers of time travel and what it means to be a hero.
The 4 part crossover with Supergirl, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow deserves an honourable mention because co-ordinating that must have been no easy task and it was a joy to watch all the characters interact with each other
What is your favourite moment of season 3 so far? Who do you think Savitar is? How excited are you for The Flash to return in January?
Tweet me your thoughts @_JaredClarkson